Time: 11:00 h
Author: Shrinivas Kulkarni
Following the Big Bang the Universe was homogeneous in matter,
energy and barren of chemistry. It is the stars which built up the
periodic table. Astronomers have now identified several classes
of cosmic explosions of which supernovae constitute the largest
group. The Palomar Transient Factory (PTF) consisting of the 48-inch
Oschin Schmidt-optics telescope (hosting a large field-of-view
mosaic detector) and the Palomar 60-inch robotic telescope (initially
equipped with an imaging CCD photometer) was designed to explicitly
undertake an ambitious survey for supernovae and as a pilot project
to systematically survey the dynamics optical night sky. The success
of PTF lead to the Zwicky Transient Facility. The wide field of
view (47 square degree camera) allows for a high rate of discovery.
Robotic spectroscopy on the 60-inch (with a novel spectrograph) has
enabled astronomers to routinely study infant supernovae and young
transients. The scope of investigations has now widened to include
binary and variable stars and small bodies in our Solar system.
This talk will mainly focus on the experimental side and strategic
choices that were made.
ZTF is poised to become the stepping
stone for the national flagship project, the Large Synoptic Survey